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Lens Question - Tokina-special auto 135mm 1-2.8

Jordan Gregson , Jan 15, 2008; 10:20 p.m.

I've received a Tokina-Special auto 135mm 1-2.8 lens and am wondering what it is I've got here - its quality and whatnot. I've searched for reviews and such on it but haven't had any luck. The only thing I've found is on the Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 Pro DX AF.

Is the lens worth hanging on to? I'm a newby to photography and am grateful for any info and/or advice anyone can offer. Thanks!

j.

Responses

Markus Maurer , Jan 16, 2008; 01:36 a.m.

Hi Jordan, With digital photography testing is fun and free. Take the lens for a healthy walk and show us the results. We will honestly tell you if you got a "lemon" or a "nomilk" (tm) "baytresure" (tm), I promise ;-) At F4-F11 you should get decent sharp results, how nice the contrast and color rendition and bokeh is would be interesting to see here. I think 135mm is a uncritical focal length but don't expect superior results at f 2.8 or against the sun.

Miserere Mei , Jan 16, 2008; 07:32 a.m.

Hi Jordan, I have that very same lens, got it on eBay some weeks ago. When I first put it on the K10D I was a bit disappointed, but after taking it out for some walks and using it for portraits I have changed my mind. I've used it indoors at social gatherings to get head shots from 4m or so, which is great because people won't generally notice you're taking a picture of them.

I have to disagree with Markus on not expecting superior results at f/2.8; indoors I always shoot wide open and I'm very happy with the sharpness. An issue I had initially was the focus; now that I've practised with 3 manual focus lenses I've got quite proficient and I consistently get sharp, in focus shots. In the beginning it was a lottery. Remember that even with manual focus lenses the camera's in-focus confirmation still works, however, it has a wide margin and often it will say it's in focus when it isn't. Practice makes perfect here.

OK, so here is my personal evaluation:

PROS:
- Well built with all-metal construction
- Sharp wide open
- Sliding lens hood
- Firm focus ring
- Pleasant bokeh
- Cheap (did you get it free?)

CONS:
- No A setting
- Manual focus (of course!)
- No half step intervals in aperture
- Minimum focus distance is huuuge
- No non-rotating surface available which makes twisting it on and off the body tricky
- Colours seem a bit cool to me
- Using the Green Button doesn't always give you correct exposure numbers at smaller apertures (it tends to over-expose). I have no idea why this happens as stop-down metering should be accurate, but I've read of many people having this issue with the K10D and older lenses

In short: I would tell you not to throw this lens away; unless you have plenty of money and can buy yourself a Pentax FA 135mm! :-)

Jordan Gregson , Jan 16, 2008; 09:43 a.m.

Thanks for the thoughts and such.

I should have noted earlier that I shoot film and therefore am not allowed the luxuries of experimentation that shooting digital allows. The camera is an old Pentax KX, fully manual.

I know that an auto focus lens will not work on a manual camera but does the "auto" written on the front of the lens mean that it's auto focusing or that the diaphragm "automatically" goes to the specified aperature when the sutter is released?

In the relm of manual lenses, is there a classic standby, so to speak, Pentax telephoto?

Thanks again for the help.

Andrew Gilchrist , Jan 16, 2008; 10:12 a.m.

Jordan: Is this your lens?

The K-mount autofocus lenses will work just fine on your KX as long as they have an aperture ring--which most do. Obviously they won't actually autofocus--you'll still need to focus manually. I imagine the 'Auto' in this case refers to automatically stopping down to the preset aperture.

Stan's Pentax Photography is one source for opinions on older K-mount pentax glass. Here is a section commenting on the several various 135mm Pentax editions.

Jordan Gregson , Jan 16, 2008; 10:38 a.m.

Andrew,

Yep, that's it all right. Thanks.

Thank you also for the Pentax link.

Jordan Gregson , Jan 16, 2008; 11:11 a.m.

I stand corrected Andrew, it's almost my lense. It looks like the only difference is that mine says Tokina-Special as opposed to RMC Tokina.

Matthew McManamey , Jan 16, 2008; 11:34 a.m.

Yes, back in the day when we couldn't imagine the camera setting the exposure for us, let alone actually focusing for us, an 'Auto' lens would park on the camera wide open and would only stop down during shutter actuation and metering (if you were upscale enough to meter TTL, stop-down metering was the norm). DoF preview was called 'turn your meter on'.

All of my screw mount lenses have an 'Auto-Manual' switch. If you were using an old school non-auto camera or screw mount glass with a K adapter, you would need to put the lens in manual mode to get the aperture to close.

Miserere Mei , Jan 16, 2008; 11:51 a.m.

Andrew, the lens in your link is M42 mount. I believe Jordan's and mine are K mount. Other than that, it seems to be the same lens.

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